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The Hispanic community takes pride in its vibrant and colorful music. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, here is an appreciation, in no particular order, of some Latino hits from 2021:
“911” by Sech
Artists such as J Balvin and Luis Fonsi are pretty well known in the U.S. — I’m hoping Sech is next. Sech has always been a genius, and many members of the Hispanic community have been playing his hits at hangouts and parties for a while now. One of his most viral songs of the year, “911,” has catchy reggaeton beats and a strong percussion chorus, so it’s hard not to dance to this. The lyrics “si estás herida pues llama al 911” translates to, “If you’re hurt then call 911.”
“Otra Noche Sin Ti” by J Balvin and Khalid
When I saw this song appear on my Spotify feed, I squealed. What an iconic collaboration. The guitar melody paired with the bass synthesizer makes for a chill pop song with a bit of a Latin twist. Vocally, J Balvin and Khalid’s voices naturally mesh together as they both sing smoothly in Spanish and English. The song is about missing an ex, but honestly, the song’s tune is so satisfying, the lyrics are beside the point.
“Pareja del Año” by Sebastián Yatra and Myke Towers
This song instantly went viral in the Latinx community and has a unique melody stemming from the violin strums. Who knew violin and reggaeton could sound so amazing together? This song is about a person who just got played, saying it is such a shame since they could’ve been “the couple of the year.”
“Mal de Amor” by La Doña and Los Texmaniacs
This modern mariachi-style song is about someone who wasn’t treated right in a relationship. The singer puts the ex-lover in their place in such an elegant yet savage way, basically going off on them in a graceful, dignified tone. Part of the lyrics translates to “I’m throwing you away,” followed by classic accordion. Mariachi music is originally from western Mexico, and this song preserves a musical style that has long been part of the Hispanic culture and is fun to sing along to.
“Yonaguni” by Bad Bunny
Bad Bunny is the current king of Latin rap and reggaeton. This song fits any mood, and its chill tempo is calming and motivational. This heartbreak song has one of the most interesting content elements — it’s about grabbing a flight to Yonaguni, an island in Japan. Right off the island, there’s a submerged rock formation named “Yonaguni Submarine Ruins,” whose origins are unknown. The Puerto Rican artist also sings in Japanese at the end of the song. Everything about this song is captivating and creative.
“Un Millón” by The Marías
This piece is perfect for alt-pop fans. The music starts out almost silent and builds up to an upbeat, techno chorus with a Bossa nova-like rhythm. Bossa nova is a mix of jazz and samba music, originally from Brazil. The singer also has a mystical and subtle voice that instantly draws you in. The lyrics match the beat in every way — it’s about the thrill of a new romance or crush.
“KESI” by Camilo and Shawn Mendes
This collaboration makes you want to hop on a plane to a tropical island and stay there forever. This pop song has a Caribbean influence as it incorporates a fun, carefree marimba style, and it’s about falling hard for someone. Camilo has such a unique voice, and Mendes singing so delicately in Spanish is so swoon-worthy.
“Qué Más Pues?” by J Balvin and Maria Becerra
Leaning toward the hip hop side of reggaeton, this hit contains a quick-witted dialogue between J Balvin and Argentinian singer Maria Becerra. Beyond any reggaeton song that makes you want to dance, the outro radiantly combines Becerra’s voice with a synthesizer.
“Ella No Es Tuya (Remix)” by Rochy RD, Myke Towers and Nicki Nicole
This vibrant trap song is about a man who “simps” for a woman who doesn’t want to be tied down. She is open and honest about not wanting anything serious and reminds the man that she doesn’t owe him by saying she doesn’t belong to him. This song has an energizing mood and honors just wanting to have fun with crisp drums and piano chords.
“Telepatía” by Kali Uchis
I am bending the rules by including “Telepatía,” which was released in November 2020. However, I feel like this song was played nonstop during the beginning of 2021. You have probably heard this song on TikTok. Kali Uchis switches from Spanish to English so smoothly in this jazzy pop piece. Every time I hear this song, my mood is instantly elevated, and I cannot help but sway to the rhythm.
This is barely a taste of what contemporary Latin music has to offer. There is not enough space here to cover the depth and richness of the catch-all genre. This Hispanic Heritage Month, dive into these songs and more.